Chicken Enchilada Casserole
with cassava tortillas / zucchini / bell peppers
Everyone loves a TexMex casserole, and this one quickly got high marks in our test kitchen. You may have extra servings from this meal, but they make great leftovers.
Smarts: We included our go-to paleo-friendly enchilada sauce recipe below, but feel free to use store-bought paleo enchilada sauce if you can find it.
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Chili powder - 2 tsp
- Cumin, ground - 2 tsp
- Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Tomato paste - 7 Tbsp
- Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
- Zucchini - 1 lb , cubed
- Bell peppers, red - 1 , diced
- Green onions - 3 stalks , chopped, green and white parts separate
- Paleo-friendly 'tortillas' - 8 , sliced into strips (look for cassava tortillas or thinly sliced jicama ‘taco shells’)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Chicken, ground - 1 lb
- Foil - for baking
- Avocados - 1
- Lime juice - 2 tsp
- Vinegar, red wine - 2 tsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
- Cumin, ground - 1/4 tsp
- Honey - 1/4 tsp
- Oil, olive - 3 Tbsp
- Lettuce - 8 oz (preferably something light and crisp like butterhead or chopped romaine)
Make enchilada sauce (if not using store-bought) - Combine cooking oil (portion for the sauce), chili powder, cumin (portion for the sauce), oregano, and garlic powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until spices are fragrant. Whisk in tomato paste and stock. Simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors come together and the sauce reduce slightly. (Note: sauce will be fairly thin.) (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make vinaigrette - Whisk together lime juice, vinegar, mustard, cumin (portion for salad), and honey. Add olive oil while whisking. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Green onions - Chop green onions, keeping green and white parts separate. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
Paleo tortillas - Slice into strips that will easily fit in a square baking dish.
Heat oven to 400F / 204C degrees.
Spray a square baker with nonstick cooking spray. (Note: This is for 4 servings. If making 2 servings, you can assemble this in a loaf pan; if making 8 servings, use a large rectangular baker.)
Heat a large skillet or saute pan with the first portion of cooking oil (portion for casserole) over medium heat. Add zucchini, bell peppers, and white parts of green onions with some salt. Saute until the zucchini is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Season the vegetables with some salt. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and return the pan to heat.
To the heated pan, add the second portion of cooking oil. Add in chicken and cook, breaking the chicken apart until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Season it with some salt and pepper as it cooks.
Pour enchilada sauce over the chicken and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cooked vegetables. Simmer everything together for 1 minute more.
In the prepared baker, spread ⅓ of the chicken mixture in the bottom. Top with 1/3 the tortilla pieces. Repeat the layers until you have used all of the chicken mixture and tortillas. (Note: If the baker is filled nearly to the top, place it on a rimmed sheet pan to catch any spills as the dish bakes.)
Cover the baker tightly with foil and bake until the casserole is heated through, ~35 minutes.
Just before serving, toss the lettuce with vinaigrette until dressed to your liking.
Slice the casserole and serve with green parts of green onions on top and avocado slices. Enjoy salad on the side.